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Interview With Suze Orman; McCain Campaign Presses Negative Attacks; Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse; Michelle Obama Opens Up about Campaign

Aired October 8, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news in your breaking bottom line: major new action, global action to inject cash and confidence into the sipping world economy. The Federal Reserve and central banks around the world cutting interest rates by half-a- point. Britain's government nationalizing a major chunk of its banking system, drastic new steps, yet, they did not shake investors' gloom, the Dow dropping nearly 200 more points at the close.
But, as we speak, Asian markets up slightly. There's also this. And if you're not angry already, after you hear this, you will be. The government is giving nearly $38 billion in emergency loans to AIG. Now, that's on top of $85 billion they gave last month. That's taxpayer money. It's your money.

It turns out, after that first bailout, AIG executives spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a fancy hotel on rooms and spa treatments, spa treatments. They are soaking it up, Madge, and we are getting soaked. We will have more on that later and a lot of politics to cover, as well as last night's debate.

Suze Orman is also here to talk about your money and what to do with it now.

But, first, the big picture. With us again tonight, Ali Velshi.

Ali, Fed slashed interest rates again today. That should be good news for the stock market.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: What an unbelievable 24 hours it's been.

When we were on last night, markets were sinking around the world dramatically. Before the sun rose in New York, markets were down and then this massive coordinated worldwide rate cut, which slashed rates on markets. Take a look at this. Nothing like this has ever happened before.

The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, European Central Bank, even China, were doing things in concert with China. Australia did it yesterday, cutting half a percentage point. It should have held the markets up. But it didn't. Soon enough, things were done.

Why, Anderson? Because it is not seen as the thing that is going to instill confidence in the American investor. Markets around the world are looking for something else. This wasn't it. It should have done it. It didn't do it, Anderson.

COOPER: Treasury Secretary Paulson spoke to the country earlier today. I want to play some of what he said. Let's listen.


HENRY PAULSON, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: But patience is also needed, because the -- because the turmoil will not end quickly and significant challenges remain ahead.

Neither passage of this new law nor the implementation of these initiatives will bring an immediate end to current difficulties.


COOPER: So, Ali, do we even know what kind of timeline we're looking at for some kind of relief? I know it is not an instant fix.

VELSHI: Well, we have worked to try and get you some kind of timeline. Nobody tells you this better than Suze is going to tell you in a few minutes that we do actually have to be patient.

Let's look at how we have tried to solve the ills of the family system. On October 3, we passed the $700 billion bailout bill with great difficulty. That is going to take -- Secretary Treasury Paulson says it will be several weeks before the first check is cut and it will be several months before you might see an effect.

So, between one and 14 months is what that medication is going to take. Then, yesterday, we saw the Federal Reserve say that it will loan money directly to companies that need short-term financing. That's the credit squeeze we're talking about. Loaning companies money, it's going to start in about a week. And it will take maybe up to six months to work.

These are these antibiotics. You have got to take them. You have got to keep taking them before they work.

And, then, today, this coordinated global interest rate cut. Well, we know interest rate cuts take between nine and 18 months to work through the system. They create quite a shock. And, sometimes, you get a market response. But, fundamentally, they take that kind of time to trickle down and actually free up the money.

So, we have thrown everything we have got at this disease. Maybe there's more to throw. We don't know. We are going to wait and see. We have thrown a lot at this, Anderson. It will work, but it may take some time. And that time is something you have got to try and work with. You have got to not panic, because we have thrown the drugs at this. You have got to try and wait to see if they work.

COOPER: A lot of prescription bottles there. I wouldn't mind some a little morphine in the interim before they kick up.

VELSHI: Yes, that's right. COOPER: Let's now tune to Suze Orman, personal finance expert, host of CNBC's "Suze Orman Show." A lot of questions tonight, a lot of them submitted on the A.C. 360 blog.

First of all, there is a lot of just downright fear out there, almost panic. Is that counterproductive?

SUZE ORMAN, AUTHOR, "WOMEN & MONEY: OWNING THE POWER TO CONTROL YOUR DESTINY": Well, it is not counterproductive. It's real. It's really -- it's how people feel. And the markets are made up of how people feel. They buy or they sell based on their emotion, Anderson. It's how it has always been.

And when you see Ali actually do these things with the drugs -- I was talking to you before we went on air, saying, that is actually what is happening. People feel like they need some medication, because they are panicking right now.

So, as I was saying to you, it's as if the economy right now is in the ICU unit of a hospital. We are in intensive care. And they are throwing everything type of medication at us to cure what is going on. And they are panicking, because why? Nothing is working. They tried this. It didn't work. They tried that medication. It didn't work.

They are running out of prescriptions to give it. So, we are going to be in the ICU unit here for a while. Eventually -- and I don't know when that will be -- it will probably six months, a year, year-and-a-half -- we will get out. We will be in the hospital then. We will stay in the hospital for about a year or two.

And, after another year or two, we will end up in rehab for a few years, and then we will be OK. So, this is a long stretch. So, people actually have to stop panicking. And they should get used to this, because this is here to stay, if you ask me, for a long time.

COOPER: Panic produces paralysis. What people need is action.

How low do you think the markets can go? I mean, we look at the stock market. The credit market is what matters. But, in terms of the stock market, you talked about sort of in the 8000 range.

ORMAN: I have always thought, when this started, that we would end up at about 8200, 8000. And, hopefully, that will be as low. But I do think we are 1,000 points still off from where the bottom should be.

COOPER: All right, got a couple of questions from our viewers on the blog.

This from Lorie Ann in California. She asks: "If it is a possibility that everything we throw at the crisis doesn't work, what will that result look like, bread lines or something less frightening?"

ORMAN: Whoa, boy, you know, I'm sorry to say that it could look like bread lines. And I know that is not really a great thing for me to say. But I want you to think about the reality of this.

For those of you out there who all you have is credit card debt, you are losing your home because you are behind on your payments, you can't make your car payment, you work in an industry -- industry, possibly, that you are going to lose a job in, you have absolutely no money, and this keeps going on, and you can't get another job, what are you going to do?

So, it is very, very possible out there that you will start to see things, not where there are bread lines, like we saw, and nobody having to eat, but that a lot of people are out on the streets. I have people calling into my show that are actually starting to live in their car because they don't know what else to do. That is a reality today.

COOPER: A lot of people losing their jobs already.

This from Lilibeth in Edmunds, Washington: "You said that for those who have 10 or 20 years before retirement to ride this out, but I cringe as I see the Dow plummet to 9500. At what point do you say enough is enough? When the Dow hits 8500, 8000, when?"

ORMAN: No. In fact, if you have -- let's say you are you are one of those ones that, let's say, has 10, 20, 30 years until you need your money, the biggest mistake you will make -- please listen to me, everybody -- the biggest mistake that you will make if you stop contradicting to your retirement accounts now.

So, if you have been putting money in your 401(k)s, now is not the time to stop. You want to see. If it continues to go down, you want to see your contributions continue, because, again, as I have said over and over again, the lower the market goes, the lower your shares go in your 401(k).

COOPER: So, even if it is going down every month, still keep putting the money in?

ORMAN: You have to. If they make a stoppage here and they just freeze everything, they have to get out of the market then, because, otherwise, they are not dollar-cost averaging down, Anderson, and they don't accumulate more shares. And then there is no way to make the money back when they come back up.

COOPER: Right.

Suze Orman, thanks very much. Appreciate it, as always.

ORMAN: Anderson, anytime.

COOPER: More breaking news ahead in the investigation to whether Sarah Palin abused her powers as Alaska governor.

As always, I'm blogging throughout the hour. To join the conversation, go to I'm about to log on. Check out Erica Hill's live show during the break. Also, harsh words on the trail from Sarah Palin, John McCain, and their supporters. Did they cross a line? Some Democrats are saying Republicans are injecting race into the race, even putting Barack Obama's safety in danger. Are they right? We will investigate, look at all sides.

Plus, Obama on the trail, how he is reacting to the attacks. And Michelle Obama talking tonight about her husband's relationship Bill Ayers, the unrepentant '60s radical.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": She said that your husband pals around with terrorists. And she is referring to William Ayers, I guess.

Do you know William Ayers?

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Yes. Yes. Yes. Barack served on the board of the Annenberg Challenge with Bill Ayers.


COOPER: And, later, it is time to figure out who is to blame for this financial collapse. We are naming names tonight, the first in our rogues gallery, the 10 most wanted culprits of the collapse.

Tonight, what happened over at AIG is going to make your blood boil. We have that story and more -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight being felt on the campaign trail. CNN has learned that Todd Palin has submitted written answers to the abuse of power investigation of his wife.

Seven Alaska state employees have also done a 180, agreeing to testify in the probe. Alaska lawmakers are trying to determine if Governor Palin overstepped her authority when she fired the state's top law officer because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law.

Governor Palin denies any wrongdoing.

Meantime, she and John McCain today drawing fire for what they are saying is and what is being said on their behalf on the trail. Critics say they are trying to paint Barack Obama as untrustworthy and less than 100 percent American.

As always, no judgments from us, just the allegations from both sides, the facts, and our political panel, so you can make up your own mind.

First, Ed Henry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After failing score a knockout in round two, John McCain came out swinging with a familiar line meant to sow doubts about his opponent's character.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: So, who is the real Senator Obama?

HENRY: But it was his wife, Cindy, who tried to deliver the body blow.

CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: But let me tell you, the day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son, when he was serving...


C. MCCAIN: ... sent a cold chill through my body.

HENRY: Never mind the McCains had previously said their son Jimmy, a Marine serving in Iraq, should not be dragged into the campaign, or that, earlier this week, Cindy McCain charged, Barack Obama is running the dirtiest campaign ever.

That was then. Now the senator is slipping in battleground states and running out of debates to turn it around.

ED ROLLINS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: He had to score a big night, and I think it was probably a draw.

HENRY: And most polls show, Obama won the debate. The candidate's wife is not the only ally lashing out at Obama. Twice this week, at McCain/Palin rallies, someone warming up the crowd used Obama's middle name.

MIKE SCOTT, LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: On November 4, let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened.


HENRY: Both times, the campaign put out statements afterwards saying, "We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric."

But that has not stopped some of the surrogates from using that rhetoric. Some Republicans say the attacks are not a winning for strategy. Conservative activist Richard Viguerie saying McCain should focus harder on differences with Obama on issues like taxes and the size of government.

"For John McCain," he said, "the opportunities to win this election are dwindling down to a precious few."


COOPER: Ed, how concerned is the campaign camp that -- that they are at a point, a tipping point, that they can't come back from at this point?

HENRY: They are ave very concerned. And I will tell you, what they're taking comfort in is quite interesting.

Some senior McCain advisers are basically telling me that they're taking comfort in the fact that this financial crisis is -- is such an awful disaster, that they should actual be behind in double digits in a lot of these battleground states. So, they are actually taking comfort in the fact that they are down only six or eight points.

And they are basically saying, if they keep chipping away and raising questions about whether Barack Obama is risky as commander in chief in a difficult, perilous time, both economically, but also with the nation at war in two places right now, they are hoping that they can chip away.

But they, honestly, are privately admitting that the bottom line is a very steep hill for John McCain to climb at this point -- Anderson.

COOPER: And, Ed, is it Friday that we learn one way or another whether Governor Palin, what this investigation results from on Governor Palin?

HENRY: Well, there's been a lot of anticipation that, each time there's a deadline, that there's going to be something, that it's actually extended. So, I wouldn't put too much on that one date. A lot of people have been anticipating there will be some sort of information coming out soon.

But you can bet that there's going to be a lot of maneuvering to try to get this pushed back as far as possible maybe even past the election -- Anderson.

COOPER: No doubt about that. Ed Henry, thanks.

On Monday, when John McCain asked who Barack Obama is, someone in the crowd screamed out, a terrorist. The question tonight is, is the Republican side stirring hatred or even racism or worse? That's what some Democrats are now saying. Today, Joe Biden called some of their rhetoric dangerous.

Or is the Democratic side just being too sensitive in the face of tough, but legitimate questions about Barack Obama's character?

With that, here is Candy Crowley on the trail with the Obama campaign.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It says something that Barack Obama's response to incoming missiles from camp McCain is to bat them away. His strategists believe, the hotter John McCain gets, the cooler Obama seems.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I can take four more weeks of John McCain's attacks, but the American people can't take four more years of John McCain's Bush policies.


CROWLEY: Atop leads in the national polls and in nearly every battleground state, Obama has no need to mix it up with McCain or address the sharp charges of Sarah Palin.

Besides, that is what Joe Biden is for. An aide calls him the defender in chief. And, today, Biden proved himself up to the job, calling McCain an angry man who opted out of intellectually honest policy discussion to change the subject.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There's one other option. The one they have chosen is to appeal to fear with a veiled question: Who is the real Barack Obama? Ladies and gentlemen, to have a vice presidential candidate raise the most outrageous inferences, the ones that John McCain's campaign is condoning, is simply wrong.

CROWLEY: An aide to Biden says he is talking about Palin linking Obama to an acquaintance, '60s-radical-turned-Chicago-professor William Ayers, co-founder a group blamed for a series of bombings in the Vietnam War era.

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Biden linked Palin with anecdotal stories of incendiary reaction from some in her crowds.


BIDEN: I mean, some of the stuff she is saying about Barack Obama and the stuff that people are yelling from the crowd, if she hears it, she should be at least saying, whoa, whoa, whoa. That's overboard.

I mean, you know, this is -- this is volatile stuff, and it's -- I -- I just -- I thought we were kind of beyond this place that it seems to be going.


CROWLEY: But, even Biden's responses are somewhat muted, a reflection of the Obama's campaign belief that McCain isn't gaining any traction.


COOPER: Is -- do you hear from anyone in the Obama camp suggesting that this is racism? Because there is that allegation out there.

CROWLEY: I don't hear that from anyone inside the campaign.

They say, listen, this is about changing the subject. That's how they're approaching it. And, honestly, Anderson, every time when I said what is -- what specifically is Biden talking about, because it was accusations, plural, and some of the stuff that she is saying, it all gets down to William Ayers. They didn't cite any other thing that she is saying as something that has bothered them.

So, it is all about Ayers and Palin's saying, like, what is his relationship with this man, that kind of thing. So, that seems to be the sole thing that is bothering the Obama campaign at this point.

COOPER: All right, Candy, thanks.

Coming up: new polling numbers state by state. John King is at the magic map, walking us through the new numbers and what they mean for Barack Obama.

And, later, you are bailing them out, and they are spending your money on facials and pedicures for their salespeople at a cushy resort and spa -- the latest outrage of the brain trust executives at AIG.

And who is really to blame for this financial fiasco? Tonight, we start naming names, the 10 most wanted, culprits of the collapse. You should know who they are and what they have cost you.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney.

You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one. You know who voted against it? Me.


COOPER: John McCain's now famous line from the debate last night, a lot of people talking about it, some taking umbrage, others rising to John McCain's defense. So, what exactly did he mean? Certainly open to discussion.

Let's dig deeper on the tone and tenor this campaign is now taking.

We are joined by CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser to Republicans and Democrats David Gergen, radio talk show host Joe Madison, and Mary Frances Berry, former chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Joe, Michelle Obama was on "LARRY KING" earlier tonight, was asked about that very comment that we just heard from Senator McCain. Let's listen to what she said.


L. KING: Do you take offense to "that one?"

M. OBAMA: No. No. I mean, you know...

L. KING: People are talking about it. M. OBAMA: Well, you know, I think there are two conversations that have been going on throughout this whole election. There's the conversation that's been happening with the pundits and, you know, the polls. And then there's the conversation that's been happening on the ground. And the folks out there right now are scared. They're nervous about the economy. They don't care about the sort of back and forth between the candidates.


COOPER: Joe, you hear a lot from the folks out there on your radio program. Do they read anything into John McCain's remarks?

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think Michelle Obama has proven that she is not an angry black woman.

Two, I think that she is absolutely right. People are more concerned about the economy. And what I heard on my show was, in part, there are code words being used that African-Americans in this country are very sensitive to, and their antennas go up.

But what I heard mostly, Anderson, was that it was condescending.


COOPER: What code words do you -- are -- do people believe they are hearing?

MADISON: Oh, well, let's take this whole thing that he's a Muslim, this use of his middle name, Hussein.

I mean, folks understand what is -- what they are attempting to do. But you know what? These people who have that kind of mentality, quite candidly, don't count that much in this election, because we are living in a post-colonial society, a post-apartheid society, a post- segregation society. And you have an entire generation that does not want to go back in time.

COOPER: Huge generational shift.

David, "The New York Times" published a scathing editorial by the McCain campaign today, saying, in part, "They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent's record, in the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia."

The McCain says, look, this is just standard fare from "The New York Times." What else do you expect?

Do you think "The Times" is on to something?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think "The New York Times" has a serious point, and it should be -- it should be considered.

The good news, Anderson, is that, over the past 24 hours or so, there have been very encouraging signs from John McCain himself. You know, he did not bring out Bill Ayers last night. He has put Reverend Wright off-limits for his campaign.

And, after the debate last night, his top aides told "Politico" the he did not intend to bring up Bill Ayers. He wasn't going to go down that road. And he wanted to keep Reverend Wright off the -- out of the campaign.

The issue has what has been going on at Sarah Palin's rallies. That's where the real trouble is, because it's the combination of her rhetoric, which is whipping up these crowds, and these ugly scenes that have occurred in these rallies. When Obama's name has been used, it's not only brought these -- these boos, but, you know, we have heard -- we have had reports now of someone yelling out "terrorist" about Obama, at another rally, somebody yelling out: "Kill him. Kill him." And at another rally, you have people shouting racial epithets.

COOPER: You can't control, though, what people say in a crowd, though, can you, David?


GERGEN: Yes, you can. And it's...

MADISON: Oh, yes.

GERGEN: Yes. And it's up to -- it is up to Sarah Palin at her rally and for John McCain to tell her, if she stops -- doesn't start doing this, to stop right there, and take issue with what has been said, and say, this has no place in our campaign. We have -- and I -- we do not condone this. And, please, let's show more respect.

COOPER: That's a fair point.

GERGEN: I think it is up to her.

COOPER: We are going to talk more about this with Mary Frances Berry and Joe Madison and David Gergen.

Mary, I will get to you in just a moment.


COOPER: We have got to take a quick commercial break.

Barack Obama is ahead in most polls. Could the polls be wrong? Could concerns about race play a role in how people are responding one they're in the voting both, or to pollsters? We are digging deeper to race and politics.

Also tonight, the latest outrage from AIG. They get another bailout. But, after the last one, get this. They spent hundreds of thousands at a luxury resort. Senator Obama talked about it last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We just found out that AIG, a company that got a bailout, just a week after they got help went on a $400,000 junket. And I will tell you what, the Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired.


COOPER: And do you recognize this guy? Well, you are paying for his mistakes, to the tunes of tens of billions down the drain in the financial collapse. So, who he is? Who are the executives, the companies, the lawmakers who got us into this mess? Who is the blame? Our new series, 10 most wanted, the culprits of the collapse, we are naming names. We're "Keeping Them Honest"

We will be right back.



SCOTT: On November 4, let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened.



COOPER: Sheriff -- that was Sheriff Mike Scott of Lee County, Florida, on Monday. Tonight, he is under county and federal investigation for participating in a political rally while in uniform.

Today, in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh County GOP chairman also used Obama's middle name in a McCain event.

Back with our panel, David Gergen, Joe Madison, Mary Frances Berry.

Mary, what about that? Is it inappropriate -- I mean, the McCain says, look, they don't condone including Senator Obama's middle name in these kind of introductions, yet, it keeps happening.

MARY FRANCES BERRY, FORMER CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION CHAIRWOMAN: Well -- well, it is his middle name. But, clearly, they want people to think about whether -- is he a Muslim or is he somehow strange?

But, if he is president of the United States, we are going to say Barack Hussein Obama, just like we say William Jefferson Clinton or George Herbert Walker Bush.

But I wanted to say was that I don't think it is racist to talk about Jim Ayers. I think, if -- if Obama were a white guy...

COOPER: Bill Ayers.

BERRY: Bill Ayers. If Obama were a white guy, McCain at this point, where he is losing the election, and Republicans are tossing him over the side, and giving up on him, would be using everything he could, or letting his surrogates use everything that they could.

COOPER: So, this notion of code words, you don't buy?

BERRY: Well, I don't buy that that is racist.

Ayers is a white guy. And what is racist about that? And there is a kernel of truth in it. It was "The New York Times" itself, although they have the editorial, they were the ones who put the front-page story out that said that Obama was trying to downplay his relationship with Ayers. So, they gave a little credibility to it.

But in every election that I've watched, when it's hotly contested like this, down near the end everybody starts throwing mud one -- in one direction and the other. And the more -- most mud is thrown by the person who's behind. It doesn't surprise me that he's doing it.

COOPER: Joe, I mean, the Obama campaign isn't free of blame when it comes to this increasing negative campaign, the McCain folks point out. They've run some pretty downright deceptive ads linking John McCain to comments that Rush Limbaugh made and others. What happened to staying above the fray? I mean, do you think this is just kind of the normal run of a campaign? Or are you saying what's going on now is something different?

MADISON: Oh, no, no, no. It is the normal run of the campaign. And I agree with Mary Frances Barry. I mean, we're going to see this for the next 27 days.

I think the more you see, the more you turn people off on this one. But I've got to tell you, if they keep at this with Obama, they're going to prove that he has the temperament to be a leader. Because the one thing about Obama, there's one word that everybody uses. He's cool.

COOPER: David, do you buy -- I mean, Candy in her piece was saying that the Obama campaign is kind of -- is trying to just, or Obama is saying that, you know, he's kind of trying to rise above this. Does it make him look more presidential? Or do they risk being too aloof, too cool, that they're not responding?

GERGEN: I thought it was smart tonight for Michelle Obama on Larry King to be dismissive, just as Joe Biden was this morning about that comment last night about that one. Not take it too seriously.

I think Obama does need to avoid trying to get down in the mud with McCain. I think -- I think the coolness is really translating, in my mind, to steadiness.

But again, I think we should give credit to John McCain for not going down this road himself last night in the debate. And for making it clear he does not want to go down the road for the next few days. What I do think he has to do is to come forward. He didn't explain that home mortgage plan at all last night. It was one of the few innovations he's had; $300 billion, it turns out, the price tag on that plan. I think he's got to -- I think he needs to take his campaign off the road, meet with the best economic minds in the country who support him, and come out with a serious, comprehensive plan on the future of the economy before the debate next week, come out with a...

COOPER: We've got to leave it -- we've got to leave it there. I'm sorry, Joe. We're out of time. We'll have you on again this week. Joe Madison, Mary Frances Berry, thanks. David Gergen, as well.

Still ahead, Michelle Obama in her own words. Her thoughts on race and politics, what her husband doesn't know, and what she thinks of Hillary Clinton. We'll have that tonight.

Right now the numbers are working in Obama's favor. John King is at the magic map.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know the math, it takes 270 to win, Obama, we now project, leading in states with 264 electoral votes; McCain leading in states with only 174. Translation: a menu of options and a broad menu of options for Barack Obama to get to the magic number of 270.


COOPER: More from John King and the magic map, coming up. That's next on 360.


COOPER: One week from tonight, Barack Obama and McCain face off for their third and final debate. A lot can happen, of course, between now and then. But where does the battle stand right now? Let's look at the latest numbers.

A new CNN national poll of polls, survey of a lot of polls, shows that Obama leads McCain among likely voters 48 to 44 percent. Eight percent are undecided. And frankly, they'll probably decide the outcome last month.

As for last night's debate, a CNN/Opinion Research poll has Obama the overwhelming winner: 54 percent said he did the best job, McCain 30 percent.

Most of the post debate polls are in Obama's favor. But it's unlikely that the debate itself was a game changer. Let's see where the electoral map stands now, state by state. John King has a look across the board.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) J. KING: Anderson, just one more presidential debate on the schedule, and just a little more than three weeks left for the candidates to campaign. And the Electoral College map is leaning lopsidedly in favor of Barack Obama and the Democrats.

You know the math. It takes 270 to win. Obama, we now project, leading in states with 264 electoral votes, McCain leading in states with only 174. Translation: a menu of options and a broad menu of options for Barack Obama to get to the magic number of 270.

He could, for example, win just the state of Florida, where Joe Biden was campaigning today. If that one goes blue, the Democrats win the White House, assuming nothing else changes.

But let's assume that one stays red. George W. Bush carried it twice. Where else could Barack Obama go? Well, he's doing very well at the moment out in the state of Colorado. Again, that was a Bush state four years ago. If Obama wins that and nothing else changes, he wins the White House.

So maybe it's better to look at the map from the other perspective. Come back to where we begin the day. How does John McCain get to 270? Well, without a doubt, he has to hold Florida's 27 electoral votes. He has to put North Carolina back in the Republican column, must hold onto Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, keep that one red. Ohio has 20 electoral votes, a must-win for the Republicans.

Even if he gets all of those, throw in the Midwestern battleground of Missouri. That would just get McCain back in the race there. He would then have to run the board: win the state of Colorado and the state of Nevada and he would just get over the 270 mark.

So if you look at the tossups still on the board, seven states all carried by George W. Bush. If nothing else changed, Barack Obama would need just one and he wins the White House -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. John King, thanks.

Up next, we're naming names. A new investigation: the ten most wanted. Culprits of the collapse. The first member of the rogue's gallery, well, is that guy. Recognize him? Do you know his name? You should. You're paying for his mistakes to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, and the tab just keeps getting bigger. We'll tell you who he is.

Plus Michelle Obama in her own words, talking about the race factor in the voting booth. Plus, what she says Barack Obama does not know, when 360 continues.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem. I would hope that all our leaders, all of them, can put aside short-term political goals and do what's in the best interests of the American people. SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: One of the messages that I have to Congress is get this done. Democrats, Republicans, step up to the plate. Get it done.


COOPER: Both candidates have said that now is not the time to talk about blame for the financial collapse. And frankly that's what politicians always say. They said it in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, if you'll remember. And when attention passes, no one is ever -- ever -- held accountable.

The truth is, now is the time to talk about blame. Now that the world is focusing on this, people deserve to know how we got into this mess. Talking about naming names and holding these culprits accountable.

Now, for the next two weeks, every night, we're going to be naming names. The ten most wanted culprits of this collapse. We start tonight with AIG.

For sheer greed and gall, it is hard to beat the executives of AIG, the nation's largest private insurance company, now on its second bailout. And it's costing you $38 billion.

What's worse: we now know that after they got their first $84 million bailout, AIG executives spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy hotels and spa treatments for some of the company's biggest earners.

Joe Johns explains why they go on our list of the "Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse."


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First, insurance giant AIG gets an $85 billion lifeline from the U.S. taxpayer and then today it comes back for more: another $38 billion. And now word of what the company was up to as it blew through the first installment. Get ready for this.

As the ink was still drying on bailout No. 1, AIG was treating about 100 independent insurance agents, some of the company's top earners, to the glamorous life at the ultra-luxury St. Regis Resort in Southern California. The bill tells the story: $140,000 for hotel rooms, $147,000 for banquets, $23,000 for the spa. All told, the bill came to a whopping $443,343.71.

Needless to say, from Capitol Hill to the campaign trail to the White House, no one was happy.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: They were getting their manicures, their facials, their pedicures and their massages.

B. OBAMA: And I tell you what, the treasury should demand that money back, and those executives should be fired. DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's pretty despicable.

JOHNS: AIG says the event wasn't for company executives but a reward for independent agents who sold AIG products.

NICHOLAS ASHOON, AIG SPOKESMAN: It's a way of rewarding people who have gone out and done a good job with selling our product.

JOHNS: But he admits it didn't look good.

ASHOON: You've got to recognize, this has been a very entrepreneurial company for a long time, and that mindset just isn't at work. But people are certainly now very sensitized of the fact that even things that we've done that are good operating procedures can have, you know, perception problems.

JOHNS: Perception problems? The problem is a lot bigger than that. AIG has become a symbol of the financial collapse because it gambled billions of dollars on what turned out to be bad mortgages without the collateral to make good when business went bad.

In fact, AIG once boasted it pioneered some of the exotic investments that have brought down much of Wall Street and is now dragging down the global economy. And now the taxpayer is on the hook for $120 billion for one company's bad bet. And that's why AIG is one of our "Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse."


COOPER: There's a lot of executives at AIG who bear a burden of blame. But in particular we're focusing on tonight, and we're going to add the name of Joe Cassano to our "Ten Most Wanted List."

Joe Johns, who is Joe Cassano and what did he do?

JOHNS: Well, he's one of the guys who ramped up the swap deals that caused so many problems for AIG. He was the guy who ran the financial products department for that company.

And when we walked away, which was earlier this year, they started paying him something like $1 million a month. Really got hammered for that on Capitol Hill just yesterday. The company says, "We had to have him on because we wanted to wind down the business, and he was the guy with the institutional memory."

Still, a lot of questions about AIG's judgment when it comes to Joe Cassano.

COOPER: Joe Cassano is in our "Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse." Joe, thanks very much. We're going to continue looking for the next two weeks, adding names to the list. Tomorrow night another name, another photo on the list.

Got a lot more ahead tonight, including the brutal dollar amount. What's been lost in retirement accounts -- retirement accounts these past few months?

Plus, the man who's accused of hacking into Governor Sarah Palin's e-mail account turned himself into police. What he faces, coming up.

And Michelle Obama in her own words.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Speaking of Hillary, are you happy with the way she's supporting your husband?

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF BARACK OBAMA: She's been phenomenal. From the minute after this was done -- right -- she has always been just cordial and open. I've called her. I've talked to her. She's given me advice about the kids. We've talked at length about this kind of stuff, how you feel, how you react. She has been amazing. She is a real pro and a woman with character.




CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF JOHN MCCAIN: This race has become about serious differences between these two candidates. How do you think my husband did last night? I think he was great. And he should be the next president of the United States.


COOPER: Cindy McCain at the McCain-Palin rally in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, today, praising her husband's performance at last night's debate. Although, as we've shown you, most major polls showed people felt Obama won.

We also heard from the other potential first lady today, Michelle Obama. She sat down with Larry King right here in New York. Here is Michelle Obama in her own words.


L. KING: How do you react when people talk about the Tom Bradley Effect. Tom Bradley was mayor of Los Angeles. He ran for governor of California. The polls had him at 65 percent, a sweep, it's over. I think he was practicing his acceptance speech. And he lost. And the Bradley factor has become people were afraid to say, "I'm against a black" but voted against him.

Do you fear that here? An anti-black vote?

M. OBAMA: People talk about it all the time, but it's theoretical in the case of this election. Because...

L. KING: You have a past case to look at. M. OBAMA: But also, look where we are, Larry. Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. If there was going to be a Bradley Effect, or if it was going to be in play Barack wouldn't be the nominee.

We have to focus on the country as it is. That was several decades ago. I think there's been growth and movement.

Now there will be people who will never vote for Barack Obama. But there will people who will never vote for John McCain either. I think right now people are so focused on what is the fate of our country, not just domestically but internationally. And I just believe that the issues are going to weigh in people's hearts more so as they go into the voting booths this time around than anything else.

L. KING: Your husband gave you a shout-out near the end of last night's debate in response to what moderator Tom Brokaw described as a Zen-like Internet question from a woman in New Hampshire. Let's watch.


TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: What don't you know and how will you learn it? Senator Obama, you get first crack at that.

B. OBAMA: My wife Michelle is there, and she could give you a much longer list than I do. And most of the time I learn it by asking her.


L. KING: How did you react to that?

M. OBAMA: I thought he's so cute. And I started going down my list.

L. KING: What doesn't he know?

M. OBAMA: You know, whatever he doesn't know, the beauty is he knows he doesn't know it, and he's not afraid to reach out to people who are smarter, more prepared. I think his vice-presidential pick is an indication of how Barack thinks. Barack looked around the room, and he got somebody who is smart, who was an equal, who would be his partner, who would challenge him.

L. KING: Had more experience than him.

M. OBAMA: In some -- in some areas, absolutely. He surrounds himself with experienced people because he knows what he doesn't know.


COOPER: Michelle Obama in her own words.

Still to come tonight, the very strange story of the naked man in the palace moat. Good lord. It's our "Shot of the Day."

Plus, penguins, hundreds of them, naked, getting an escort back into the water. Find out what this was all about.

And more of our breaking news. Another volatile day on Wall Street and what it means to you. Suze Orman joins us, along with Ali Velshi, in our next hour of 360.


COOPER: "The Shot of the Day" is coming up. A naked guy leads police on a wild chase. We'll have the full skinny in a moment. Yikes.

First Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.


Anderson, a 20-year-old Tennessee man indicted today for hacking into Governor Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account. David Kernell, who turned himself into authorities, now faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Two trillion dollars in retirement savings have been lost in the past 15 months. That grim news coming today from Congress's top budget analysts, who also say the loss is causing people to consider delaying their retirement.

In Portland, Oregon, a housing crisis of a different kind. A mudslide there sends a home into oblivion, and then it also forced the evacuation of about 12 others. Luckily, no one was injured.

And 373 young penguins back home tonight after a more than 1,500- mile flight aboard a Brazilian cargo plane. Why? Well, it turns out the little guys were searching for food. They ended up too far north in Brazil. They were emaciated when they were found. But as one of the vets responsible for their rescue put it, the penguins now have a second chance at life.

And I wish you could just see these little...

COOPER: I like it when the penguins got all excited that they were hitting the water again.

HILL: I love the penguins. They're just so cute.

COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners. It's our daily chance for -- challenge for viewers to come up with a caption for a photo better than the one we come up with. I said Twitter, and I was thinking of Rick Sanchez.

HILL: The Ricker.

COOPER: Exactly. He's all about that Twitter.

Tonight's picture, President Bush speaking with business leaders in Virginia yesterday. Our staff winner, Steve, said, "See, the economy is like a big ball, and I just dropped it." (SOUND EFFECT: BABY CRYING)

HILL: I think it's good.

COOPER: Is that a baby crying?

Our viewer winner is Judy, who came up with this: "Those guys from AIG got ripped off. My manicure only cost $2,000. Maybe they got polish."

HILL: Not bad. I've got to say, though, I think Steve won the "Beat 360" tonight.

COOPER: Really? Yes, I agree with you.

But Judy, you did beat 360. You get the T-shirt. It's on the way.

You can check out all the entries we receive on the blog. Play along tomorrow by going to You know what that is? That's our Web site.

HILL: Hey.

COOPER: Time now for "The Shot of the Day." The most recent buzz around Japan's imperial palace wasn't about politics. It was about the man in the moat who had a bit of a swim in his birthday suit before climbing out and chasing police with a pole.

HILL: Wow.

COOPER: He jumped then back into the water, did a few more laps to the other side of the moat, climbed out again, and the chase was on again. It took police an hour and a half to catch the man who they said was British. The police had no explanation for his bizarre stunt.

HILL: I think at one point somebody said...

COOPER: That's the pole he's carrying.

HILL: Thanks for clearing that up.

COOPER: What? I don't know what you're talking about.

HILL: I don't either. I'm just happy that you clarified what that was there.

COOPER: Attacking him. He's attacking them.

HILL: Attacking who? The police. Yes.

COOPER: The police, and then he jumped back in the moat.

HILL: He did. Somebody said he went in after a bag. Maybe it had his clothes in it. COOPER: Wow? Sorry? Oh, wait. He's about to go. What is that they have? Do they have like special equipment to deal with naked people?

HILL: You've got to be careful with the naked moat people.

COOPER: The naked moat -- and he's back in the moat.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Wow. Crazy. Wow.

HILL: It's just so wrong on so many levels.

COOPER: It's hard being a police officer. Try to deal with this.

Anyway, Erica, a programming note. Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," I've got a special announcement to make. We're going to be revealing CNN's heroes top ten. It's your chance to vote and make one of them CNN's hero of the year. Be sure to join us tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" for all the details.

HILL: Getting up early.


Coming up at the top of the hour, the latest on our breaking news, global action to shore up the markets and pump up the comedy. Is it working?

Also, attack and counterattack on the trail after the debate. Allegations, too, that some of the attacks on Obama are, well, dangerous. That and more, tonight on 360.


COOPER: Tonight breaking news and your breaking bottom line. Major new action, global action to inject cash and confidence into the sinking world economy.

The Federal Reserve and central banks around the world cutting interest rates by half a point. Britain's government nationalizing a major chunk of its private banking system. Drastic new steps that did not shake investors' gloom.

The Dow Industrials dropping nearly 200 more points at the close. But as we speak, Asian markets up slightly.

There's also this, and if you're not angry already, after you hear this, you will be. The government is giving nearly $38 billion more dollars in emergency loans to AIG. That's on top of $85 billion they gave last month. That's taxpayer money. It's your money.

Turns out after that first bailout AIG executives spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a fancy hotel on rooms and spa treatments. Spa treatments.